An electronic cigarette is set to be rebranded after a Maori anti-smoking activist says the Mana name was unfairly targeting Maori smokers.
The Mana e-Cigarette contains no tobacco or nicotine but is marketed as “incredibly similar to the real thing!”
“E-Cigarettes look, feel and taste just like smoking tobacco cigarettes!” states an ad for the plastic device.
“It’s even the same size as a normal cigarette meaning no one will even know you’re not smoking!”
But a Maori anti-smoking campaigner Shane Bradbrook has been unimpressed, saying use of the Maori word, which translates as prestige, unfairly targets Maori, who have the country’s highest smoking rates.
“It’s misappropriating our reo to pitch a product which has still got a strong link towards smoking cigarettes which are killing our people,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
Topfloor Sales & Marketing, which sells the device, initially said it would not be changing the name but later agreed to rebranding within a month.
“We probably could have picked a better name,” company director Mat Docherty told the newspaper.
It is the second time in a month that the corporate use of a Maori word has come under fire.
The Horowhenua Library Trust revealed in November that its open-source software programme Koha was being claimed by a US firm which intended to market the product for commercial gain.
The trust is fighting the Ministry of Economic Development decision.